Botanic Garden
Jurong Bird Park
Sentosa Island
Chinese Garden
Ao Nang
Ko Lanta
The Narima
Ko Phi Phi Don
Ko Phi Phi Le
Gili Islands


Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop: rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

But the paradise gloss has been manufactured and polished by the international tourist industry rather than by the Balinese themselves - who don't even have a word for paradise in their language - and it pays scant regard to the political and economic reality of life on Bali. A popular destination for pleasure-seeking Western tourists, Bali is also part of Muslim Indonesia, making it a flashpoint for extremism on both sides. Internal strife and international affairs have imposed themselves on this postcard island - with tragic results.


Monkey Forest Ubud (Bali)

Country: Indonesia
Area: 5620 sq km (2192 sq mi)
Population: 3 million
Capital city: Denpasar (pop 370,000)
People: 95% ethnic Balinese, plus Javanese minority
Language Bahasa Bali, Bahasa Indonesian, plus English in tourist areas
Religion: 95% Balinese Hindu, plus Muslim and Christian minorities


Bali Pura Besakih - The mother temple

When To Go